Has your child begun to understand the concept of money? Have they been asking for monthly allowances and gifts that are slightly more on the expensive side? Well then, I think it’s the right time to let your child dip their toes into the world of business!
Starting a business is a great way to teach your child some valuable skills. It gives practical lessons on time management, money handling organization and communication. These are life-skills which no textbook can ever replicate. So, if you want to raise a young entrepreneur or just teach your child the importance and difficulties of making money, here’s a guide to teach your child how to run a business and give them life lessons along the way.
Choose Something Simple, But Interesting
Before you start out on an entrepreneurship journey with your child, you’ve got to pick the right business first. The most important part of this whole lesson is that your child enjoys it. This shouldn’t be forced in any way.
Observe your child’s passions and see if there’s anything from that they’d like to do more. Children have a variety of interests and don’t understand “lucrative” or “respectable” jobs yet. Letting them choose what they want to do will make them take a genuine interest in the business.
Now while children are creative, children do tend to have some wild ideas that might not be the most profitable or feasible. It’s not the right time for complicated ventures, so you might have to steer the ideas a little towards a simpler direction. So, what are your options?
Some ideas that have already been tried and tested are lemonade stands, cookie sales and backyard sales. Older kids could also try out babysitting, cleaning, photography, lawn mowing or tutoring others. Doing makeup and nail-art are quite popular, too. But businesses aren’t just about popularity. If your child loves dogs, they could start dog walking. A few are good at something simple as card making, scrapbooking or gift wrapping. Those can even be done professionally!
When I was merely a 12-year kid, I started a library and charged other kids for borrowing books. My friend loved baking cupcakes when she was 15 and made quite the hefty amount selling those. Now, my little niece is selling slime online! In this era, nothing is the limit. If a 9-year-old child can make millions on YouTube by reviewing toys, why not give your child’s interests a chance?
Plan Out the Business
Planning is the key to get a business running. It is also a lesson your child needs to learn for the future. In the grown-up business world, we’re required to draft a plan with goals, budgets and strategies. So, you’ve got to do the same for your child.
Make them write down what their goals and business plan is. Help them write down the expenses of all the things they’ll need to start. Even jotting down problems and potential competitors will help. When you have it all on paper, you can help them cancel out some of the costs and problems by finding better alternatives. It’s important to sit with them and discuss how to improve the strategy.
Survey the Market
Something us grownups do is analyze our consumer’s choices. So why not introduce that concept to your child as well? If your child is good at baking and loves vanilla icing, it won’t do to only make vanilla flavored cupcakes. If your child wants to start a backyard sale, it’s got to be at a time everybody in the neighborhood is available. And if your child wants to babysit or dog walk, of course knowing when everybody needs those services is important.
So, it might be a good idea to go around the neighborhood and about people’s needs and preferences. Based on that, your child can set their schedule and products.
Follow the Rules
Some businesses like food services may need legal permits. If a business is running well, your child might even need to pay taxes. Now, this is not something you can expect your child to figure out. So, you need to do the research and follow the rules, legalizing the business.
Don’t just do everything yourself. Let your kid know what the process is and take them along through the different application processes with you.
Don’t Forget about Marketing
Marketing is a very important part of any business. It will teach your kids the ability to sell their ideas. You could go the traditional way and print out flyers. Go door to door and give the flyers to your neighbors and anybody they see. You could also just stick them on poles and leave them in shopping malls or public places. This is a great experience for your child and getting calls from all the hard work is also very gratifying. However, printing and distributing flyers is also a time consuming and expensive process.
Using the internet is honestly, a lot easier and faster. It will also reach to a wider audience. You could start a page for your child or simply send out emails to reach out. Using social media to spread your message and communicate with customers is a lot more efficient.
Running the Business
Of course, the business will be run by your child. But for the first few weeks, you’ll have to show them the ropes. Remember all this may seem obvious to you, but it’s completely new for your kid!
Customer service is what keeps a business running smoothly. When kids delve into the world of business at a young age, they get a chance to enhance their communication skills because of this.
You should teach your child to listen to the customer and behave well. This way your child will learn to understand what the customer wants and be more empathetic. Teach your child to carry out jobs with a smile and receive money with a thank you. This will teach them the importance of behaving politely and how that gives businesses an edge.
The business shouldn’t interfere with your child’s studies or free time. Sometimes the thrill of earning money can get to your kid’s head. It’s your job to ensure that no other part of your kid’s life is being harmed because of this business.
The best way to do this is to sit with your kid and set specific working hours. An overworked child will lose interest fast. Even worse, trying to achieve success in this venture might hamper other aspects of their life. It’s important for your child to learn how to manage time and learn how to multi-task. It’s also necessary for you to teach your child how to be punctual.
If your child promises to walk someone’s dog at 5 p.m., then they should be present there at 4:55 p.m. sharp.
Keeping It All Organized
Teach your child early on to be organized and tackle things methodologically. This is a very useful skill for the future. Carrying out a business with no structure is going to be a mess. Orders and jobs will clash and your child will get overwhelmed.
Teach your kid to keep track of all their orders, gigs and jobs. Buy your child a planner and encourage them to make to-do lists. This way, your kid won’t forget anything important. Planning things around exams and events are mandatory.
Business ethics and morals are something you should instill in your child from a very young age. You want your child to be ambitious and competitive, but not dishonest. Even if someone gives them extra change by mistake, teach them to hand it back.
You should also look up the standards for the business and print them out for your child. Simple rules like creating a hygienic environment for cupcakes is something that should be emphasized. You should also teach your child that there’s no shortcut to success. Hard work and dedication along with smart choices is what gets you to the top of the ladder.
Funding is a very important concept in business. Your child needs to know that money has to be invested, in order to be earned. In the case of your kids, if they’re older you could try and set up meetings with willing investors. This could be relatives, grandparents, neighbors or just anybody who might be interested.
For most of these situations though, you’re going to be the investor. But it’s important for your child to understand that just because dad or mom is investing, doesn’t mean it will be easy. They should learn about the concept of paying back or giving a percentage of their earnings as shares. For younger kids, this isn’t really the time. But you also don’t want to be spending more than they’ll earn.
Perhaps the camera you buy them could be an early birthday present. Or the lemonade ingredients you’re buying could be in exchange for some chores.
Let your child count their money and note it down. Then let them calculate the profits and losses as well. Teenagers will need more control over their money, but you should always encourage savings and wise spending.
It’s a good idea to open a bank account for your child. Take them with you when you put their money in their accounts. But also, be sure to keep a little for them to spend as they please. Before saving their money, explain why they should save it. Let them know every time their money increases in the bank as well.
Teach your child that investing in new equipment can make their lives easier and bring in more money to the table. Through a business, your child will understand where and when to spend and how to be patient for better results.
Dos & Don’ts for Parental Guidance
If your child has no specific interests, no worries. If you’re a business owner you could just employ your child. Even if you’re not, you could make doing certain chores a money earning venture. This will at least expose them to a business mindset and environment.
Don’t interfere or take over the business. You should be in the background, supporting your kid, not telling them what to do. This doesn’t mean you’ll offer no help at all. Brainstorm with your child about problems and possible improvements. Try to explain or at least take your child through all the “grown-up” parts as well.
Most importantly, you shouldn’t pressurize your child or instill a fear of failure. This is easier said than done because parents often get carried away with wanting the best. Instead, you should motivate your child and encourage them to do better.
When children are young, it’s the best time for fun learning experiences without any serious consequences. As parents, it’s our job to teach children the skills necessary for navigating their life and instill values that will stick with them forever.
Introducing business at a young age could have wonderful outcomes. Your child might just find a passion and understand their true calling. It will also be a wonderful bonding and learning experience for your child. But keep in mind that the business at such a young age may not last long. It may not even make profits. But what matters is that your kid learns some important lessons and has a good time.
Parents always want their children to succeed. But sometimes, you’ve just got to let the reigns loose and let your child figure it out. Whatever the scenario, your child will walk out as a more responsible and mature human being, having gained some wonderful life skills.